SCU arrests 13 Tuesday in narcotics crackdown

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct 31, 2007 - Two months of investigation into drug activity in the community came to a head Tuesday afternoon when Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Special Crimes Unit obtained 25 warrants against 19 people on drug charges.

�Of the 19 people, 13 were arrested. The remaining six wanted on outstanding charges will be arrested shortly, we anticipate,� Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said Wednesday morning. �This is through the persistence of SCU Lt. Ron Plaxco and Sgt. Harold McClure for Sulphur Springs Police and Sgt. Tony Crouse at the sheriff�s office. This is the result of a lengthy investigation over the span of months."

After presenting the complaints for the cases to the district attorney Tuesday, warrants were sought and issued later in the day. 

The three SCU officers partnered with patrol officers and investigators from the sheriff’s office and police department beginning around 2:30 p.m. to serve the warrants. The charges are related to methamphetamine, crack cocaine and prescription narcotics offenses. 

�Hopefully this put a small dent in drug dealing in the community,� said McClure.

More seizures or forfeitures could be forthcoming, SCU investigators said.

�We�ll continue taking care of business,� Plaxco said. �We plan to go out of town to a neighboring community to get another one today, and hopefully will get this finished up. This was basically activity scattered through the city and county.�

All but one of the people arrested, who ranged in age from 19 to 75, listed Sulphur Springs addresses. Those arrested between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday by SCU, police and sheriff’s officers in conjunction with the warrant roundup included:

  • Mathew James “Killa” Conley, 29, of Suphur Springs for  delivery of marijuana. The felony offense is alleged to have occurred on July 14.
  • Anita Faye Johnson, 55, of Sulphur Springs on a second-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance warrant.
  • Wanda Denise Harris, 43, of Sulphur Springs on a first-degree felony delivery of controlled substance in a drug-free zone warrant and a second-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance warrant. She was also charged with felony possession of controlled substance after some of the substance was found at her residence at the time of her arrest, according to arrest reports.
  • Verdina Mae Taylor, 48, of Sulphur Springs on a first-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance warrant.
  • William Harold Gilbert, 35, of Sulphur Springs for a possession of a controlled substance warrant. The felony offense is alleged to have occurred on July 23.
  • Eunice Laverne Hall, 37, of Sulphur Springs on a delivery of a controlled substance warrant. The offense is alleged to have occurred on Sept. 17.
  • Van Howard Harrison, 56, of Sulphur Springs on a felony delivery of a controlled substance warrant.
  • Richard Wayne Henley, 55, of Sulphur Springs on a felony warrant for delivery of a controlled substance in a drug free zone.
  • Ivan Benjamin Isham, 75, of Sulphur Springs on two first-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance warrants.
  • Eric Trent Jennings, 31, of Pickton on a delivery of a controlled substance warrant. The second-degree felony offense is alleged to have occurred on Aug. 4.
  • Sisters Kasey Rachelle Lile, 19, and Laci Dean Lile, 21,  both of Sulphur Springs on one first-degree felony warrant each for engaging in organized criminal activity. Kasey Rachelle Lile was also served with a second-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance warrant.
  • Linda Robinson Taylor, 43, of Sulphur Springs on two first-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance warrants. 

Bayuk added that the SCU works closely with District Attorney Martin Braddy’s office.

"They confer with him pretty much everything that goes on with SCU as he has to prosecute it," the police chief said. "SCU’s focus is within the city and county, and is funded by a grant from the federal government administered through the state. We are blessed to have the federal funds and officers for narcotics enforcement.”

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